John’s Blog 13 – John 7:53- 8:11

The story too hot to handle

The woman caught in Adultery

I find it hard to talk about this story, because I didn’t write it![1] I would like to have since it shows the Saviour I know so well. But I didn’t – and I am intrigued how it came to be attached to the Gospel I wrote. But I think I know – a quick read of Paul’s letters will show that the church in those early years struggled to cope with the sexual mores of the world we lived in infecting the church – when the Law was superseded by grace, some took it as an opportunity for license, if not licentiousness. Christ’s attitude here is exactly the one he showed to Mary Magdalene and to the woman at Simon the Pharisee’s house, but it must have seemed almost as if he was condoning her sin – but he didn’t.

There is the truth, you can forgive the sinner without approving of sin – I am saddened to see that 20 centuries later the Church still gets it wrong – so I’m tempted to say just read this story and act accordingly.

I wish I had included it now – but maybe the Holy Spirit had double guessed me and got it there anyway!!


[1] This story obviously caused real problems for the early church who were trying to take a pagan society and teach them marital fidelity and sexual purity. This story was awkward as it could be interpreted as condoning the woman and vilifying those who were trying to keep the standards. In some manuscripts it appears by itself at the end of John’s Gospel, in some it is omitted, in some it is inserted in Luke chap 21. It seems likely that it was not written by any of the Gospel writers (Certainly not by John – the vocabulary and grammar are not Johannine) but was preserved independently. Its inclusion though in most manuscripts does mean that it was regarded as original and certainly the story is very much in keeping with the character and actions of Jesus as we know him in this gospel. Beasley-Murray says it is a great commentary on John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.